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Allow comfort dogs

or “None of the Above.” This will lay I was dismayed to read of Judge the groundwork for the upcoming elecWendell Griffen’s recent ruling against tion cycle. allowing comfort dogs for child sexual This fall, when you go into a voting abuse victims in criminal court pro- booth, don’t look at the names on the ceedings. It seems to be a ruling based slate but rather at your Social Secuon politics and bureaucracy [judges rity number. If it is even, then you vote “controlling” their courtrooms] rather Democratic and if it is odd, vote Repubthan the pursuit of justice. To say the lican. If we all do this the elections in judicial and legislative branches never Arkansas will be decided by the thinintersect is simply wrong. Our courts nest of margins. The recounts will go already make mandated accommoda- on until Easter. Come the 2020 presitions for blind, hearing-impaired or dential election the manna will flow. non-English speaking witnesses, to David Rose mention just a few.  Accommodations are so that witnesses can fully participate and give the court the best possible information for rendering a just verdict. Why would we do any less for child sexual abuse victims? There is a strong body of research and professional evidence on the benefits and effectiveness of comfort dogs for child witnesses. This ruling is an attack on children’s protection, their ability to be effective witnesses, and to find justice in our courts. These children are confronting a power abuser who badly used and hurt them — a terrifying person to face in court. But I have seen child victims willing to testify in order to stand up for themselves or, more touchingly, to protect other children. Comfort dogs allow child witnesses to better cope with fear and anxiety, making their testimony more accurate and meaningful. Stacking the deck against children in court is cruel, wrong and not in the interest of justice.  Surely the system will not abandon child victims and allow this dangerous, wrong-headed ruling to stand. Carolyn L ayman G ordon Former chair , A rkansas G overnor’s Task Force on Child A buse

Hot Springs

Vote NO on Issue 1 I want to make sure you know what’s at stake with Issue 1, which is going to be on the ballot this November to change the Arkansas Constitution in several significant ways. It was put there by special interests and corporations that will hurt our community and put our families at risk. We all know how important family, community and the joy of life

Kyle Boswell and

Kathy Bay

Purple is the new green


MAY 17, 2018


Kyle Boswell, Pails and Bucket series 16” x 12” blown glass and mixed media

From the web In response to the May 10 Arkansas Times cover story “Battling to retake Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional District”:

New Works by Arkansas Artists

Six-and-a-half-billion dollars were spent on the 2016 election and most all of it went to battleground states. Nearly half a billion went into Ohio alone. By comparison, Arkansas got diddly-squat. No one is going to spend big money on a state that is fully ++committed to one party or the other. The money doesn’t flow to red or blue, it goes purple. Listen up, people, we’re leaving money on the table here. Let’s put aside our partisanship, work together and go for the gold. The next time, and every time, a pollster asks your opinion on a political matter answer it with either “Don’t Know,” “Undecided”

is to all of us. But politicians in Little Rock don’t see it that way. By passing Issue 1 this November, they want to put a one-size-fits-all value on human life that eliminates our constitutional right to a citizen jury trial unencumbered by arbitrary regulations. I’m voting NO on Issue 1 this November. F uronda Brasfield Little Rock

Kathy Bay “Perennial II” 60” x 48” acrylic on canvas

Opening Reception

Saturday, May 19, 6 - 9 PM Show runs through June 9th 5815 KAVANAUGH BLVD • LITILE ROCK, AR 72207 • (501) 664.0030 WWW.BOSWELLMOUROT.COM

Those running for office in Arkansas as Democrats who argue that the opposing Democratic candidates are not progressive enough all have one thing in common: They’re gonna lose. This is Arkansas. We were a very blue state for a very long time, but our Democrats tended to be to the right of a lot of Republican politicians on the West Coast or in the Northeast. It’s always been a pretty conservative state, even when it was a blue state. California liberal types are never going to win here. These people need to get real. Republicans dominate everything now, and if Democrats are going to make inroads they need candidates who will appeal to the majority of voters in their districts. A “Republican-light” lawmaker in the federal House or Senate is still going to vote with Democrats most of the time. In state or federal legislative bodies, they’re still going to be sort of a check and balance against the other side, which completely dominates basically all three branches of the federal government and most states’ governments and certainly our government here in Arkansas. BigJohn In response to Gene Lyons’ May 10 column “Trump under oath? No.”: [Special counsel Robert] Mueller’s report may be devastating to you or me, but it won’t change the mind of [President Trump’s] base. Assuming the report says Trump was laundering money from Russian oligarchs through purchases of various properties, his base and Fox News will just say he was a shrewd businessman who knew how to make a deal. Even our spineless Republican congressmen will find a way to rationalize Trump’s crimes and will refuse to hold him accountable. Bad E arl MAY 17, 2018



Irony of the week For this ballot cycle, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected at least 70 ballot initiatives and approved none. Last week, the Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a minimum wage-related case that could further define the high court’s new interpretation of the state Constitution’s sovereign immunity provision. In January, the court ruled that the legislature may not pass laws that waive the constitutional provision that prevents the state from being made a defendant in its courts. In oral arguments last week, Chief Justice Dan Kemp asked what kept that provision from “turning Arkansas into a totalitarian state like North Korea?” Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Merritt replied that “the Constitution contains a variety of provisions to protect the people from government. … The people reserve the right to amend the constitution, so if the people want to change the sovereign immunity provision, they certainly have the ability to do that.” But not if Rutledge rejects all ballot initiatives that come across her desk. In fact, one of the proposals Rutledge has rejected would change the sovereign immunity provision by adding the words “unless authorized by the General Assembly.” The group behind the proposal, the Committee to Restore Arkansans’ Rights, has sued Rutledge in Pulaski County Court. It’s been joined by several other ballot groups. Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen was scheduled to hear the case May 18.

Justice sues to stop dark money ads from running Associate Justice Courtney Goodson has filed a pair of defamation lawsuits seeking an end to local broadcasts of TV ads funded by the Judicial Crisis 6

MAY 17, 2018


Network, a D.C.-based “dark money” group backing one of Goodson’s opponents to her bid for re-election to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Goodson filed suits in Pulaski and Washington counties, seeking a temporary restraining order against KATV, Channel 7, and the parent companies of several other stations in Arkansas, including Nexstar Broadcasting, Mission Broadcasting and Comcast of Arkansas. The real target, though, is the JCN, which is attempting to replace Goodson with challenger David Sterling, an attorney for the state Department of Human Services. Goodson’s suits call the JCN’s advertising “false, misleading and defamatory.” In Washington County, Circuit Judge Doug Martin issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the ads from airing. A hearing before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza was scheduled for Friday. The JCN’s mission is to elect conservative judges across the country. As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the group does not have to disclose its donors and it skirts campaign finance rules through the use of so-called “issue ads.” In recent weeks, the group has bought over a mil-

lion dollars worth of TV spots smearing Goodson and Court of Appeals Judge Kenneth Hixson — who is also running for the seat — in advance of nonpartisan judicial elections May 22. (Early voting began May 7.)

DHS ordered to stop using algorithm Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen has issued an order requiring the Arkansas Department of Human Services to stop using its method of assigning attendant care hours for thousands of disabled Medicaid beneficiaries receiving at-home care under a waiver program. The decision is a victory for advocates of the disabled, including Legal Aid of Arkansas, which represented the plaintiffs. DHS indicated beneficiaries of the ARChoices waiver program could expect to receive the same level of care they’re currently approved to receive, at least for the time being. “DHS will promptly seek emergency promulgation of modified ARChoices rules that address the Judge’s concerns, which

would allow us to continue the program,” the agency said in a statement. In late 2015, DHS informed beneficiaries in two distinct Medicaid waiver programs — one for physically disabled people and one for the elderly — that they would be merged into a single new program, called ARChoices. DHS said benefits would remain the same. But in merging the two programs, the state agency also created a new, algorithm-based method of determining the weekly number of home care hours received by each beneficiary, rather than using the discretion of a nurse to assess individuals’ level of need. At-home services are typically much cheaper than institutional care and are usually much preferred by recipients. Rather than paying for 24/7 care in a nursing home or similar institution, a waiver program like ARChoices allows Medicaid to pay each week for an attendant to assist with daily activities such as bathing, cooking and cleaning. That would seem to make at-home services a win-win for the state and for beneficiaries. But when the new algorithm went into effect in Arkansas, many people were alarmed to find their attendant care hours decreased.


Talking baseball


od bless America!” I ex- tural exports. claimed to nobody, as the dog And yet inside the base lines nothand cat watching the Red Sox ing essential has game with me were napping. changed. It’s still Pitcher Hector Velazquez had the same mesmerinduced a timely double play, ending izing, endlessly an Orioles scoring threat. Short to second fascinating sport I to first; that is, Tzu Wei Lin (Taiwan) to watched as a small Brock Holt (Texas) to Hanley Ramirez boy perched on a GENE LYONS (Dominican Republic.) Velazquez him- bar stool in Elizaself was signed out of the Mexican bethport, N.J., sipping ginger ale while League. The Orioles batter was Tim my Uncle Tommy, just home from the Beckham, an African-American infielder Army, drank beer and played shufflefrom Georgia. board with his pals. Babysitting, Jersey I was definitely conscious of the irony. style. “America’s pastime,” they used to call I also played baseball, day after day, Major League Baseball. Today, it’s an year after year, from age 8 until nobody international game. Athletes immigrate had a uniform for me anymore. No sport from all over the baseball-playing world. has ever captured my imagination like This season’s rookie phenom is the baseball. LA Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, a 23-yearOne of the best decisions of my life old pitcher/designated hitter from was to marry a baseball coach’s daughJapan’s Nippon Ham Fighters. Depend- ter. She gets it; always has. ing upon who’s pitching, Boston starts Even so, to hear people tell it, the players from four or five countries every game is in trouble. Indeed, you rarely day. Many MLB teams do. The game’s hear the “America’s pastime” trope used among America’s most successful cul- except ironically. Rather like my own,

Flooding the swamp


t became clear the first week of his presidency what Donald Trump meant with his repeated campaign pledges to “drain the swamp,” the moneyed culture of Wall Street and corporate lobbyists who dictate the laws and rules of governing in Washington. President Trump would simply divert the swamp from Capitol Hill over to the White House and all the reaches of the executive branch. What remained to be seen were the specific sluices that would pipe the fetid influence of corporate money to the far ends of his government. The last two weeks have been particularly revealing. First, former South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney, the Trump budget director who doubles as head of the Consumer Financial [Non]Protection Bureau, made a speech to the American Bankers Association in which he explained how “pay to play” worked in the new regime. When he was a congressman, he said, “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you.” Payday lenders gave him $63,000. Now they have the protection of the consumer bureau he runs. Big financial institutions expect the same cover. Mulvaney and predatory lenders, big and small, need

congressional help in rolling back some of the Obama-era consumer protections and he explained to the bankers how it is done. Then, last week, the lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels released a few bank records of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who had paid the sex star $130,000 right ERNEST before the elecDUMAS tion to keep her one-day hookup with Trump in 2006 a secret. The bank records showed that Cohen set up shell companies to take corporate gifts to buy influence with the new White House. In a few months, he hauled in at least $2.35 million — $150,000 from a Korean defense company competing for a U.S. military contract; $500,000 from the powerhouse corporate lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs; $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment shell that manages the assets of the Russian billionaire and Vladimir Putin pal Viktor Vekselberg; $200,000 from AT&T as it sought government approval of a merger; and more that we may learn about later from prosecutors. Novartis, the global

people say, baseball’s days are numbered. between a culture saturated with devices “The greatest problem baseball con- that offer instant gratification and a sport fronts in the 21st century,” writes Susan that requires intense, sustained concenJacoby in her Yale University Press book tration from its fans.” “Why Baseball Matters,” “is that it derives Well, maybe so, although intellectumuch of its enduring appeal from a style als have worried over mass media’s bad of play and adherence to tradition very effects upon the public mind since the much at odds with our current culture ... invention of the printing press. Indeed, . The demographic makeup of baseball’s I’d argue that the main effect of electypical television audience delineates the tronic media upon baseball has been to challenge: It has the oldest, whitest fan make it more available and in vastly supebase of any major sport. rior formats. Some years ago, the Cubs That’d be me, all right. celebrated the 50th anniversary of ChiAnd yeah, you read that correctly: cago baseball on TV by broadcasting sucYale University Press. That’s probably cessive innings in the style of each decade symptomatic in itself. For Jacoby, whose from the 1940s onward. The wonder was 2008 book “The Age of American Unrea- that anybody watched back in the blackson” lamented “a virulent mixture of and-white, ginger-ale, fixed-camera era. anti-rationalism and low expectations” Today’s high-definition broadcasts, eight full years before Donald J. Trump with their close-ups, multiple angles, ran for president, baseball’s presumptive slow-motion replays and more knowldecline is a consequence of the nation’s edgeable commentary strike me as infitaste for cheap melodrama. nitely superior to the good old days. It’s Never mind that the deciding game also possible to mute the commercials or of the 2016 Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland skip them entirely, so Jacoby’s correct Indians World Series was the highest- that complaints about the games’ durarated televised game in 25 years. Fewer tion are a distraction. millennials, women and African AmerWatching baseball properly is more icans are among the fan base. Jacoby like reading a novel, precisely what I blames “the profound dissonance love about it.

pharmaceutical company, sent $1.2 million to Essential Consultants, the shell company Cohen set up to buy the porn star’s silence, for “insight” into Trump’s health care policies, including pharmaceuticals. Last week, Novartis and the rest of Big Pharma found out and they were thrilled. For two years, the big drugmakers had been on pins and needles. Campaigner Trump promised he was going after them because of the high prices people had to pay for drugs, especially those with new life-saving patents. He was going to do what President George W. Bush and Congress had failed to do in 2003 when they expanded Medicare to cover drugs and what Barack Obama had failed to do with Obamacare. Concluding that he could not pass health insurance reform over Big Pharma’s opposition, Obama did not include provisions for Medicare and perhaps Medicaid to use their bargaining power to get heavily used drugs for patients at big discounts. The drugmakers need not have worried. Trump’s first Cabinet chief over Medicare and other health services had been a congressional servant of the industry, but Trump had to let him go for his lavish personal spending, which offended even Congress. Trump replaced him with Alex Agar, a pharmaceutical executive. After days of buildup, the president

got big headlines by announcing plans to drive down drug prices. But the vague plans included none of the reforms he had been championing for two years. Medicare and Medicaid still will not be able use their market power to get discounts from drugmakers. He is going to look for ways to force Europe to pay drugmakers more, driving up drug costs for European patients while foreclosing any incentive for Americans to buy from Europe. Pharmaceutical stocks, which had been depressed awaiting Trump’s crackdown on Medicare marketing, soared. Thanks to the swamp, Americans will continue to pay more for prescription drugs than the rest of the world. Meantime, all the other Trump-built sluices to drain the swamp — at Treasury, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Labor and Education Departments — are in working order. Over at the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who has filled the agency with lobbyists and executives of polluting industries that he regulates, is still dining secretly with industry people and taking favors, traveling with his 16-man security detail and neutering public-health standards that the industries are supposed to meet. Who said draining the swamp would be hard?

Follow Arkansas Blog on Twitter: @ArkansasBlog MAY 17, 2018


Bad law


rkansas has some dumb laws. I Arkansas law. It’s the same mentality know we’ve all probably laughed that too many sex education programs at the lists that include old-fash- adopt in refusing to hand out condoms ioned city ordinances like “no flirting and instead promoting abstinence. We on the street” or “no walking a cow should encourage behavior that seeks to in town on Sunday,” but I’m talking limit health risks, but instead we crimiabout really dumb laws that are actu- nalize it because we can’t be seen as ally enforced, such as jailing people for soft on crime. We want people to get keeping overdue library books too long what they deserve, right? Do the crime, (Arkansas Code Annotated § 13-2-803); do the time? Even if it is sickness or charging folks with a crime for keeping death? Before certain prescribed medications in one you are quick to of those days-of-the-week pill boxes agree with that or loose in a purse or pocket (Arkansas sentiment, you Code Annotated § 20-64-311); and the may want to look ridiculous way we criminalize addicts around at your who try to mitigate the health risks to family. Chances AUTUMN TOLBERT themselves and others by carrying their are, you have a own needles. While I could go on and on young addict as your kin. about these laws and the fact that I’ve Listen, I’ve heard the arguments actually known multiple people charged from police about dirty needles and the with each of the listed offenses, for this risk they face being poked when searchspace I’ll stick to the needle law. ing. I get it, but to that I say they should In 2017, the legislature corrected the search fewer cars and people. Can we statute that resulted in defendants fac- teach our children about the Fourth ing five to 20 years for a plastic baggie Amendment the same way many of us while only facing often six years or less teach them about the First? Or the Secfor the actual drugs inside the bag. But ond? I’ve refused a search request from one thing that law did not change was a police officer, but even as a seasoned that addicts who carry their own nee- criminal defense attorney, it wasn’t easy. dle, or “rig,” who have drugs with them I had to say no a couple of times before or who are honest with the police and finally telling him that I was an attorney admit they are addicts, face a felony and he was not searching my car no matcharge that can result in up to six years ter how many times he asked. Besides, in prison and a $10,000 fine for each most of the clients I’ve represented on needle to be used to inject or ingest needle charges had them stored in a methamphetamine or cocaine. Ridicu- container, or in the glove box, or in their lous. purse. They were flushed out of their Ideally, every addict would have free hiding places after a traffic stop for a access to excellent inpatient treatment broken tail light, a cracked windshield immediately and could obtain leave or maybe the old standby, the improper from work and financial obligations so use of a turn signal (an officer in Norththey could take advantage of that oppor- west Arkansas once told me that if he tunity. But that isn’t the reality of the followed someone long enough, they’d world we live in here in Arkansas. Rehab make a mistake with their blinker). Also, is expensive and state-funded beds are if more communities and churches and often full. Many addicts aren’t like the police departments supported properly men and women in the movies, down run needle exchanges, we would have and out on skid row. More often they fewer dirty needles on the street. are functioning addicts who have jobs, Now if you want to base your laws on pay rent and have family obligations. studies and practicality, then decrimiMany are veterans. Leaving all of those nalizing needles makes a lot of sense, as responsibilities for 30 days is difficult. it is a way to cut down on communicable Over the years, I’ve represented quite diseases and save taxpayer dollars. If a few young men and women addicts you want your laws based on Christianwho carry their own needles because ity, then decriminalizing needles makes they know that faced with tempta- a lot of sense, as it is an act of mercy. It tion and the opportunity to use out- should be our shared hope that someday side their home they will. Having their these addicts will stop using. It should own needles with them reduces the risk be our shared hope they are healthy of hepatitis C or HIV, both which can when that day comes instead of being be transmitted through shared needles. ill with a disease that could have been This is good, right? Not according to prevented with a clean needle.


MAY 17, 2018


Support the Times, get free stuff


f you are a regular reader of the Ar- thousand of you did, and that’s been a kansas Times online, you will have financial boon to us ever since. noticed a change. The Times, like But about 350,000 people come to most other publications, has adopted every month. If we’re a strategy to help us stay in business: to continue to produce the aggressive We’ve extended our paywall. We now journalism and editorial observation limit free views of articles and blog you’ve come to expect from us, we posts in the Times to three a month. need more subscribers. Giving you the Arkansas Times takes Though we have adjusted the paya lot of time and money, and for 44 wall, we have years, our advertisers have allowed n o t i n c r e a s e d the Times to bring you great report- our subscription ing and writing. price: It’s $9.99 But in this financial climate, most per month or $110 advertising dollars are going to Face- per year. On top of LINDSEY book and Google. They alone sucked that, we’re sweetMILLAR up 73 percent of all digital advertis- ening the deal for ing revenue in 2017, according to the you new and curresearch firm Pivotal — and their share rent subscribers who wish to extend of that pie is growing. their subscription by a year: For a limWe still matited time, you’ll ter to advertisreceive a fully ers: We sell a sig- If we’re to continue to produce loaded pass to nificant amount cultural events. of print and dig- the aggressive journalism you’ve That includes: ital advertising. • A one-year Our many plat- come to expect from us, we need Arkansas Symforms — not just phony Orchesprint and web, more subscribers. tra concert membut podcasts, bership (one free a daily news ticket to every video, enewsletters and social media ASO regular season concert), a value platforms — remain an outstanding of $108. way for businesses to reach new cus• Six tickets to the Museum of Distomers. (Learn more at covery, a value of $60. advertise.) We’ve also gotten into the • Four tickets to the Little Rock Zoo, events business, hosting, among oth- a value of $40. ers, annual margarita festivals (see • Two tickets to the Arkansas Arts this week’s To-Do listings) and craft Center’s Children’s Theatre, a value beer tastings and bus trips to the King of $25. Biscuit Blues Festival. To subscribe to the Arkansas But now, to sustain our weekly Times and get unfettered access to publication and online presence, we some of the best reporting and writneed you. ing in Arkansas, go to my.arktimes. In 2014, in response to these com and choose a plan. changes in the publishing industry, If you’re already an annual subwe began to sell digital subscriptions scriber, but want to extend for a year to the Times, asking readers to bear a and get the free passes, head to my.arkshare of our costs. We explained that, fill out your our staff was putting out both a daily info (don’t forget to check the box website and a print edition. We told indicating you want your free passes!) you that we devote considerably more and we’ll get them in the mail to you. of our budget to our editorial staff than Want to purchase a subscription our peers in the weekly press across for someone else as a gift? Head over the country because Times founder to and publisher Alan Leveritt has Thanks for reading and thanks for always been mission-driven. We put supporting the Arkansas Times! our popular, newsbreaking Arkansas Questions? Comments? Write us at Blog behind a metered paywall and asked you to subscribe to it. Around a

PATIO IS BACK! THURSDAY, MAY 24TH 5PM-10PM Lakehill Shopping Center, NLR 3816 John F. Kennedy, NLR



5:00 - 6:15pm - Jamie Lou and Hullabaloo (2018 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Winner) 6:30 - 7:45pm - The Wildflower Revue 8:00 - 9:30pm - Dazz and Brie (2017 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Winner) THE BEER GARDEN, SPONSORED BY THE NORTH BAR, WILL HAVE ACOUSTIC MUSIC! TH 2 0 18 Y M AY 2 4



5:15 - 6:30pm - Ben Byers 6:45 - 8pm - Joe Darr 8:15 - 9:30pm - Brian Nahlen

• Park Hill Baptist Church on C street and JFK will have a FREE TROLLEY • Dogs are welcome! • Bring your own chairs! Get tickets at

Proceeds benefit the non-profit organization Park Hill Business and Merchants Association (PHBMA). for more info or visit our Facebook page!

of Arkansas MAY 17, 2018



Postseason plans


s the Arkansas Razorbacks ease the Hogs thoroughly pummeled 16-0 in their way into the college basket- last year’s SEC Tournament semifinal. ball postseason, they’ve steadily In other words, Arkansas is again among built their case for being a Top 8 na- the elite in a thoroughly competitive tional seed — thereby securing a possible league, and far from intimidated by the Super Regional hosting opportunity if defending national champions in blue they can win the presumed Fayetteville and orange. Even regional first — in a manner that belies with injuries, the how difficult it really has been to get Hogs have excelled this far. and been remarkKeaton McKinney, who burst onto ably consistent, as the scene as a freshman (6-2, 3.21 ERA their only real outin 18 starts) in 2015, fell off the map lier performances BEAU during the Hogs’ miserable 2016 sea- include a weekend WILCOX son, and his arm clearly wasn’t right. He sweep at the hands was shelved and redshirted for 2017 but of West Division also-ran Mississippi expected to contribute in 2018, and yet, State and a frustrating pair of thirdSTAY IN AND R ELAX, W E LCOM E TO T H E big righty has battled his own health game series losses on the road against OR GO OUTthe AND HAVE FU N. misfortunes again and has seen one start Ole Miss and LSU that could’ve easily E N J OY N E W LY R E N O VAT E D R O O M S and two innings worth of action all year. gone the other way. The Hogs’ most preJ U S T M I N UJared T E SGates, FRO M expected to be an asset as dominant struggle this year is a lack of CR Y S TA L BaRleft-handed I D G E S power & AM Aafter ZEU M bat bopping situational hitting — for a squad batting Pl u s Freshl y Prep Br ea st atduty Th elast Gayear, r d en Gr i l lae healthy , sixared homers in kfa limited has .304 and having four players C omp l i mentary struggled Wi - Fi , a n all d On Si te Fi tness C ent e r season and lost playing in double figures in the home run ledger, time to sophomore Jordan McFarland. they’ve left a whopping 444 men on base 2 2 0 4 S E Wal ton B lvd . , B en to nv ille, A R Coming off a season lost to injury as across 51 games so far, and that’s easily 479. 464.73 0 0 | hilto n g a rd en in n 3 . h ilto n .com McKinney did, Isaiah Campbell has diluted their overall and league record been an enigmatic third starter, look- by at least two or three games. ing brilliant at times and bafflingly bad Then again, the Hogs also dominated at others when his command betrays then-No. 4 Texas Tech in a midweek him, though to his credit he’s done some game in April, walloped a 33-18 Texas of his absolute best work the past few team in a two-game home series, and weekends. also took games from likely tourney Against Texas A&M, Arkansas entrants Missouri State, Arizona, San authored its SEC-high fourth season Diego State and Kent State in building sweep of the year, all at Baum Stadium, up a fine RPI that has the Hogs in a but it came at a cost. Shortstop Jax Big- much better position to stay situated in gers fractured a finger on his left hand the Top 8 overall than they were facing in the opening inning of the first game last season at this time. and went out, not to return all weekArkansas closes out the regular seaend, and then on Sunday, catcher Grant son with a three-game series in Athens, N AND RSTAY E L A X IN , AND REL AX, Koch planted awkwardly after setting Ga., and the Hogs are still having to fight O O UT AND up to return a throw of a passed ball off the pesky Rebels from Oxford for the OR HAVE GO O FU U TNA. N D HAVE FUN . to the infield and went down in agony. West title. A sweep would give the Hogs Y N EW LYENJOY R E N O VAT ED OENO O M SVAT ED RO O M S NEW LYRR Biggers’ injury looked painful but also a 20-win SEC slate for the first time in M INUT ES F R O MINU M comparatively minor, and Jack Kenley Van Horn’s 17 years at the helm, but the JUST TES FR O M TAL BRID GE S & A M A Z E U M filled in well defensively and provided Bulldogs have had a remarkably steady C RYSTAL B R IDGES & AM AZ E U M shl y Pre p ar e d B r e a k f a st a t T h e G a r d e n G ri l l e , some sparkling at-bats in lieu of Biggers season and entrenched themselves in Pl u s F re s h ly P r e p a r e d B r e a k f a s t a t T he Gard e n Grille , enta ry W i- F i, a nd O n - S i t e F i t n e s s C e n te r the remainder of the series. Koch, on the second in the East behind the Gators. C o mplim e n tary W i - F i , a nd O n- S i t e F i t n e ss Ce n te r other hand, looked like he did damage They’ve got plenty at stake, trying to fight to his Achilles tendon or, at a minimum, off a surging South Carolina to keep their sustained a badly turned ankle, and it is position for the conference tournament, n .co m STAY INanyone’s A N D guess R E LA X, backup Casey and the Rebels get the better draw in whether OR GO Opitz OU Tcan A fill N Dthat HAV . void E forFU anyNlength their pursuit of snatching the West title of time. away, ENJOY NEWLY RENOVAT ED ROOMSheading to last-place but decepYet, with those obstacles, Van Horn’s tively capable Alabama for their final JUS T MINUT ES FROM 2018 team is 36-15 overall, 17-10 in the three. Even if Arkansas manages to take CRYSTAL BRID GES &sits Pl u sAMAZEUM F re shly Pr epa r edin Athens, B r ea the k f aRebels s t acan t The SEC, and accordingly comfortably two of three Plus Freshly Prepared Breakfast at The Garden Gri l l e, in second in the SEC the West crown winning threeFitne COn-Site opower m p l irankings m enta rtake y Wi-Fi, a ndbyOn-Site C omplimentary Wi-Fi, and Fitness Center behind the consensus top team in the in Tuscaloosa, since they own the headcountry, Florida, which had to scrape to-head tiebreaker with the Hogs after 22 0 4 S E Wal to n Bl vd., Be nto nvi l l e, AR 2204 SE Wa l ton B l vd., B e n to nv ille, A R by Arkansas earlier this year to win a squeaking out two one-run wins in that 479. 4 6 4 .73 0 0 | hi l to ngarde ni nn3.hi home series in Gainesville, and which series way back at the end of March.




479.464.73 0 0 | hi l tonga rd e n in n 3. h ilto n .co m


MAY 17, 2018


11200 W. Markham 501-223-3120


The dreamer


t’s 5 a.m. as The Observer writes this, and we’re still shaking a bit from the adrenaline of the dream. We don’t remember our skull movies often, but when we do, they’re always vivid. In the one we just woke from, we’d spent all day and into the night driving a friend around in the deep green 1968 Pontiac Bonneville our mother owned when we were around 7 or 8 years old, acres of sheet metal and American chrome, The Observer and our old pal whooping it up and carving corners, windows down, cold Coca-Colas in glass in our hands and so sweet they were like manna. With the sun soon to rise, we took him back to his place, and said our goodbyes. He got out, walked four steps away, then turned as if he’d forgotten something. As he opened the door again, he pulled a black bandana over his face and a small automatic handgun from his belt and pointed it at The Driver, demanding our wallet that was suddenly swollen with hunnerts. We were fighting over the gun, trying to angle the barrel away from anything vital and cocking a fist back to break his jaw, when The Observer awoke, heart pounding and on the verge of shouting in the sleeping house. A modern Dr. Freud could probably help us decipher that one if we were so inclined, which we’re definitely not. Prolly best not to know. The Observer tells ourself that dreams mean nothing, just our brain spinning on in darkness as the body recharges. That’s likely not exactly true, though. If it was all just mental flotsam and jetsam sloshing around in our brainpan, why was it a friend’s betrayal and not just the greed of some stranger? Why did he mask himself? Why our mother’s longgone Bonneville, and Coca-Cola in glass? Every night, human heads hit the hay all over this ball of dirt and gin these riddles of the Sphinx, which might be The Answer to It All if we could ever pick the lock on their dark chest. But they conspire against us for whatever reason, just maddeningly and tantalizingly vague enough that they seem to mean everything and nothing, like “Willy Wonka

& the Chocolate Factory.” Even now, as The Observer writes this, the dream, so crisp only 10 minutes ago, is fading back toward nothing, like a painting succumbing to a slow and deliberate crawl of fire. If we hadn’t written about it, the dream would mostly be gone by the time we hit the bottom of our first cup of coffee. By lunch, it will have wholly retreated into the haunted mist of our mind. A strange business, these dreams. Though we don’t think much of our dreams, The Observer grew up believing in their power, even their prophecy. When we were a lad, The Observer’s dear Ma periodically had tripartite dreams, episodic-like TV shows that picked up right where they left off the previous night when she went to sleep. The thing is, she came to believe that every time she completed one of those trinity dreams — always a terrible, inescapable nightmare — someone close to her would die. It was a theory proven to her satisfaction a half-dozen times in her life, there being stranger things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. So it was that when The Observer’s brother, when only a slight boy of 5, was bitten in our backyard shed by the biggest copperhead snake anybody had ever seen in these parts, the serpent pumping him so full of venom that a good part of his lower body turned black, she had just woken from the second night’s episode of one of those funny dreams. The Observer’s Ma will tell you to this day that the only reason her eldest child is alive and well as you read this is because she stayed awake for the next 78 hours straight, until the doctors got him out of the woods, so as to fend off fate and the third episode of that three-part killing dream. As for Ma, she may still have those three-reelers yet; we just don’t know. There are some sleeping dogs that are best to let snooze. If she does, though, hopefully she’ll call us so we can get our affairs in order. For now, let’s say it again while we can: a very strange thing, these dreams.

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Arkansas Reporter


Pushing back in Harrison An Indivisible group takes hold.




hen Daniella Scott moved throughout the state and country, all months. People are getting tired, but years equated diversity with white genoto Harrison in 2011, she part of a grassroots movement sparked it’s important to be out here,” said Kay cide frightened Scott so much she hardly didn’t know about the by a “how to” guide written by former Hughes, who lives in neighboring New- would leave her house, she said. city’s racist history or congressional staffers after President ton County and is another organizer of “It was so big, it was so blatant, and that it was a stomping ground of the Trump’s election. the group. “I don’t know how much there was no one fighting over it,” Scott Ku Klux Klan. She had spent nearly a At a peace rally earlier this month, good it does, but it’s better than not said. “I’m not going to say all white peoyear traveling around the East Coast 11 people gathered in the historic part doing anything, you know?” ple are racist. Obviously, I’m married to with her boyfriend — he worked pick- of Harrison for the “Hate Has No The feeling that no one was doing a white guy, so I really don’t believe that, ing up old railroad ties — but she had Home Here Peace Rally,” organized in anything was a motivator for Scott. but at the same time, when something grown tired of that lifestyle. She wanted response to the Ku Klux Klan’s annual When a man walking down Main Street like that happens, and nobody’s fightto settle down, and a friend ing to take it down, then it who lived in Harrison told really does make you wonder her it was a nice, safe place. if everyone around you feels After Scott moved, that that way.” friend casually mentioned Eventually the billboard the KKK’s Harrison links. did come down, three years (Thomas Robb, national before its lease was up, when director of the KKK, lives in the landowner and her lawthe unincorporated town of yer discovered the sign’s perZinc 15 miles from Harrison, mit had lapsed, but there’s but the KKK uses a Harrison still a white pride billboard post office box.) on the edge of town, which, “My dad’s white and my along with the KKK’s P.O. mom’s black,” Scott said. box, makes it difficult for “For a while I thought peoHarrison to shake its repple actually got some sort of utation as “the most racist amusement telling me there town in America,” a phrase was Klan here, like, ‘Hey, let’s coined by the British publicasee how the black woman tion The Daily Mirror. reacts.’ … It doesn’t click for Cindy Parton of Omaha them that that might be a big (Boone County), who had deal for me.” drawn a heart on her cheek Seven years later and this with purple face paint for Harrison transplant is trythe May 5 rally in Harrison, ing to rally anyone and everysaid she was standing on the one who thinks the KKK’s corner of North Main Street stranglehold on Harrison’s and West Stephenson Avereputation is a big deal. Scott nue because that’s where the RALLYING TO CLEAN HARRISON OF HATE: Indivisible activists Daniella Scott of Harrison and Nik Robbins of has founded Boone County KKK stands during the pride Fayetteville. Indivisible, a group with 137 parade. members (according to Face“Those people have a right book) that holds peace rallies in down- conference in late April. during the May 5 rally asked Scott if she to their opinions, but they don’t have town Harrison, right around the block “It’s easy to make a Facebook event, had ever experienced racism in Harri- a right to have everybody else pay for from the office of a lawyer who has it’s harder to convince people to show son, she told him about the humiliating their opinions,” Parton said. “We have represented the KKK. Members of the up,” Scott said. She was hoping for a time she was called a monkey in Wal- a lot of beautiful people here, we have group have driven to Washington, D.C., better turnout, since 95 people had reg- greens. She said she was the only black a lot to offer, and it’s time for a change to protest at Arkansas U.S. Sen. Tom istered as “interested” on Facebook. In person in the store and that none of the and I’m here to promote that.” Cotton’s office, and they’re planning on February 2018, about 35 people showed white people who heard the racist slur At least three people at the “Hate Has registering people to vote at Harrison’s up for a similar rally, organized for a said anything. No Home Here” rally drove two hours gay pride parade in June. The group is similar reason. “The racism here is open,” Scott said. from Bentonville to participate. modeled after other Indivisible groups “This is our third rally in a couple of A bright yellow billboard that for two “I think the most important thing is 12

MAY 17, 2018


Tune in to our “Week In Review” podcast each Friday. Available on iTunes &

to show other people that maybe are on the same page that they are not alone,” said Asele Mack, a librarian at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville. “I don’t know that we can really change people’s minds, but I do want to at least empower people who already feel that they don’t support the hateful things that are happening here in Harrison and the rest of the country.” Mack held a “Black Lives Matter” sign. Other rally signs included “White Supremacy = Terrorism” and “Protect our Friends, Family and Neighbors. End The Racist Deportations.” During the two-hour rally, many people in cars and trucks passing by honked their horns or waved in support, but there were also people who flipped the bird. One woman stuck her head out the car window to yell, “All lives matter!” “What do you do with an egg? You incubate an egg,” a woman named Criss said. She asked that her last name not be used because she lives in a “racist community that likes to pack firearms.” Criss, who held a sign that read “In Our America Love Wins,” said hate has been incubating in Harrison “generation after generation.” There was a time when Harrison was more diverse, but in 1905 and 1909 white mobs forced black residents out of town. According to the 2010 census, Harrison remains 96 percent white. Criss’ husband, Matt, who said he held an American flag at a previous Boone County Indivisible peace rally in Harrison, decided to sit the May 5 rally out because the rally had been “hijacked” by people who support Black Lives Matter. “They’re divisive, like any other group that segregates based on color or where you’re from, or whatever, they’re not inclusive, so they can have their signs up there and I’ll just sit here and protect my wife,” he said. While sitting on a bench, Matt said he saw a guy in a red truck with a fiercelooking Doberman Pinscher purposely drive around the square a couple of times to rev his engine, make exhaust and flip the bird to the people holding rally signs. “I don’t know that guy personally, never saw him before in my life, but I know his type,” he said. “He takes exception to those words. Those three words, ‘Black Lives Matter.’ ”


Inconsequential News Quiz:

on the BIG Billionaires March! Edition PICTURE

Play at home, while considering how much you love it when a plan comes together. 1) A recent report from CNN said that some of the GOP’s biggest donors, including Arkansas’s Warren Stephens of Stephens Inc., are miffed enough about a recent development that they plan to withhold donations to the Republican Party. What’s got the fat cats hoarding their cream? A) Republican bootlickers in the U.S. Senate just don’t seem to be giving their groveling 110 percent anymore, you know? B) Citing an old banking injury, U.S. Rep. French Hill recently refused to act as a human footstool for Stephens, the proper etiquette when a billionaire visits a politician’s office. C) The Trump tax cut, which exploded the budget deficit to deliver a staggering financial windfall for the rich, didn’t do quite enough to slash taxes on hedge funds. D) U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wouldn’t put Stephens’ face on the $50 bill. 2) The Judicial Crisis Network has been in the news in Arkansas in recent weeks. What is the Judicial Crisis Network? A) A dry cleaning service for incontinent judges. B) It’s kinda like TV’s “The A-Team,” only in this case, B.A. Barracus is a family law attorney. They’ve still got the van, though. C) A secretive group that has been pumping millions in “dark money” into near-slanderous advertising to smear state Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson, who is running for re-election. D) A late-night infomercial for local attorneys looking to get involved in the lucrative field of representing people who cook the blue supermeth from “Breaking Bad.” 3) The Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, which is fighting a large hog farming operation near the Buffalo, has done something that might seem ironic. What was it? A) They converted their tour bus to run on the methane gas from pig poop. B) They announced plans to hold a June 3 fundraiser at a Conway barbecue restaurant that’s known for its delicious pulled pork. C) They introduced their mascot: a miniature pig named Buffalo Rivers. D) They admitted that they’re not exactly an alliance. More of a coalition, really. 4) There was a bombshell development May 8 in the race for Little Rock mayor. What was it? A) Gladys, the Little Rock Zoo giant tortoise who has correctly predicted the winner of every Little Rock mayoral contest since 1963, indicated that the race will be unexpectedly won by fellow terrapin U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. B) Candidate Warwick Sabin pledged that, if elected, he will work with North Little Rock to construct a much-needed wall around Levy. C) Following Donald Trump’s lead on the Iran nuclear deal, incumbent Mayor Mark Stodola announced he was tearing up the Louisiana Purchase and giving Little Rock back to France. D) Stodola announced he was dropping out of the race. 5) Video recently emerged of a shocking incident at a Forrest City daycare that has shocked people in the Delta. What does it reportedly depict? A) Strong-arm tactics by the burly 3-year-old who runs the daycare’s chocolate milk and graham cracker distribution ring. B) Clifford the Big Red Dog shooting smack in the crapper. C) A teacher allegedly ordering a group of 4-year-olds to pelt another 4-year-old with rocks to “teach him a lesson.” D) A student-led production of the little-known collaboration between Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel and the poet Charles Bukowski, “Horton Hears a Ho.” Answers: C, C, B, D, C

LISTEN UP MAY 17, 2018



MAY 17, 2018


DOWNTOWN IN THE DISTANCE: A view of War Memorial Park and the Little Rock Zoo looking east.

A stadium. A park. A plan? War Memorial Uncertainty about the Hogs, the zoo’s infrastructure needs stir call for a Little Rock Central Park. BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK


n the heart of Little Rock is a 200-acre park that separates two very different neighborhoods: the poorer Forest Hills neighborhood on its south and the well-

to-do Hillcrest neighborhood on its north.


For years, the city was satisfied with the arrangement of the park, with its War Memorial Stadium, a 90-acre golf course, a 33-acre zoo, Ray Winder Field, fitness center and pools and a playground. But in 2007, with the Arkansas Travelers moving to Dickey Stephens Park in North Little Rock and plans for a children’s library south of the interstate on Jonesboro Drive, there was a move to rethink War Memorial. What if it were greener, its fairways, greens and tennis center gone back to nature for hiking, biking, nature communing, to expand its attraction beyond golfers? So the city hired a consulting firm that had worked with St. Louis on the redesign of its Forest Park. After a number of public meetings, including one in which several groups of people were given maps of the park and pencils and asked to draw what they’d like to see there, it became clear that War Memorial Park was not a coherent piece, but several attractions. The golfers and the

football fans don’t go to the zoo, the improved playground, and what was families who go to the zoo — a major- once a par 65 became a duffer’s delight ity from outside Little Rock — have par 64. The tennis courts got plowed no use for the golf course. The weight down, a flat green space taking their lifters and lane swimmers at the fit- place. That was that. ness center work out and walk out. A But the idea of making War Memofew suggested the stadium, no longer rial a Central Park for Little Rock has loved by the Arkansas Razorbacks, never died. Largely thanks to the library should be removed, and others who for children that former Central Arkansaid a memorial to Arkansas’s World sas Library System Director Bobby War dead should be honored. No Venn Roberts built south of Interstate 630 diagram described its use; there was no and the city’s extension of the park to overarching idea for what War Memo- property along Jonesboro Drive, many rial Park should be. people have come to see the park as a Only one thing was for certain: The way to connect, not separate, the disgolfers weren’t going to cede their 18 parate neighborhoods north and south. holes without a fight. The fierce oppo- That it could be more inclusive, bridge sition from golfers who’d been playing that gash of freeway that kept the city War Memorial Golf Course, with its divided along economic and racial lines. WPA-built clubhouse and midtown set- And that the city should once more get ting, for years put the quietus on any big together and consider a reconfiguration change. It’s hard to remove something of War Memorial Park. the city has invested in since 1931. In 2010, the course was required to sacri*** fice some acreage for a splash park and MAY 17, 2018



FAIR PARK IN 1939: A little zoo, a dance hall, a merry-go-round and State Fair buildings.


MAY 17, 2018



ompeting with the notion of porting, asked that its state appropriaopening more of the park to pas- tion, $885,644 this year, be cut in half sive and alternative recreation in 2019, and recommended a viability is a suggestion by consultants for War study. (The stadium, once operated by Memorial Park that a portion of the park an appointed commission, now falls be sold for development for restaurants, under the Parks and Tourism Departhotels, multifamily housing and retail. ment. Only the building is state propThe stadium faces several challenges. erty; the state leases the parking lot The University of Arkansas wants $10 from the city.) million in facility upgrades to continue The study, by CS&L, released in playing football there; its contract with March, said the stadium needed to the stadium expires this year and the make $17 million in improvements, paid Hogs’ game against Ole Miss this fall for with philanthropic dollars (citing, could be their last in Little Rock. Gov- among other gifts, Bud Walton’s $15 ernor Hutchinson, saying he wanted million for the Bud Walton Arena and the stadium to become more self-sup- Jack Stephens’ $25 million for the Jack

Stephens Center), tax dollars and development opportunities. “Given the uncertainty of the Arkansas Razorbacks’ utilization of War Memorial Stadium beyond 2018, which could limit the need for parking and tailgating in War Memorial Park, project stakeholders tasked the project team with analyzing potential redevelopment opportunities for War Memorial Park,” CS&L said in its study. It proposed taking 40 of the 90 acres the golf course now uses and using 14 acres for an indoor sports complex, 10 acres for multifamily housing, 8 acres for restaurants, an expansion of the zoo by 8 acres, 3 acres for retail and 2 acres for a hotel. Fiftytwo acres would be left as parkland. However, interviews with park users and political leaders indicate zero support for selling off cityowned parkland to private developers. Even Kane Webb, director of Parks and Tourism, didn’t come on strong for private development. “I’d love to see War Memorial Park become a real Central Park,” Webb said. “I’d love to see a big fat conversation about that park … . It feels like the timing is right,” he said, noting that whatever happens, the community will have to be behind it. Meanwhile, Webb compared the stadium to “an old Toyota that keeps on running.” It needs a new field and will get it, thanks to a field bond. He expects to improve the wi-fi at the stadium and make security upgrades. About the $10 million the UA demanded: “That was from Jeff Long, a previous regime,” he said. What matters more are the SEC recommendations, due out in June. Webb said he hopes the SEC “will realize that all stadiums aren’t created equal.” With 200 events, including 24 football games, War Memorial Stadium is not underutilized, Webb said. It’s not going anywhere, but it does need new dollars, especially if it loses the Hogs contract, which is worth about $300,000 to $400,000 for a sold-out game, Webb said. ***


hen the Little Rock Zoo opened in 1926, its only animals were a timber wolf and a circus bear. They’re long gone, but the zoo still has a fierce occupant: Director Susan Altrui. The zoo gets 300,000 visitors a

year, Altrui said, second only to Crys- becomes the economic engine,” she said. stadium, it’s time to bring the state’s turn to the park, suggesting that the city tal Bridges Museum of American Art in Altrui noted the city’s tax invest- only zoo into the 21st century. Altrui create a “world-class zoo” and consider Bentonville, and she wants that to grow ments in downtown — the Robinson said the zoo plans to meet with the pub- development along the park’s periphery. to 600,000. Little Rock and Pulaski Center Performance Hall, the Little lic over the summer to gauge interest in He also suggested eliminating the golf County need to think big about War Rock Tech Park, the Arkansas Arts Cen- zoo improvements and discern people’s course “and re-landscaping the land to Memorial, she said, and how quality ter. They’ve brought new life to down- desires for the park. allow more people to enjoy it. … It is not of life drives investment, and not the town. It’s midtown’s turn — in a way fair to cater to the sentimental feelings of other way around. the people of midtown support. Little *** a few citizens and deny the larger popuTake New York City’s High Line Rock contributes $700,000 a year for lation the opportunity to take advantage Park, she said. New York transformed new exhibits and updates, but “that’s a arwick Sabin, a state repre- of urban green space.” an abandoned railroad spur into a drop in the bucket” with what is needed. sentative who is leaving the As a candidate for mayor, Sabin has nearly 2-mile-long linear park, with a Other cities, like Kansas City and TucHouse to make a run for Little dialed it back a bit. “If we have a truly trail landscaped with trees and bushes son, have created a tax district around Rock mayor, is another park supporter inclusive process that values diversity” and grasses and wildflowers, and with places to stop and sit. It’s so popular that there has been a veritable real estate boom in its Chelsea neighborhood, where unused factories are being converted into places to live, meet and work. “You’ve got to think bigger than playground equipment and dog parks,” Altrui said. There’s nothing wrong with playgrounds and dog parks, she said, but with War Memorial, “we have the potential to make it a destination, not just another city park.” Gary Lee of national zoo building firm CLR Design is working with the Little Rock Zoo Foundation on a master plan for future development. “We wanted somebody who understood the intersection of art and nature,” Altrui said, and how the park and the zoo could be more of a piece. He looked at a plan of the park and “the very first thing he observed was Coleman Creek,” she said, which runs along Fair Park, and how it could transform what is now a mowed archery range into a creek ecosystem. Lee has brought to the foundation ideas for earthworks a la Maya Lin’s “Storm King Wavefield,” a field of grassy valleys and 15-foot peaks, and the Sultan the Pit Pony raised-earth sculpture in Wales. Why not a raised Razorback earthwork, Lee wondered, or, if the Hogs are replaced by a UA Little Rock football team, a Trojan Horse for lolling on? What about dotting the park, both within and without the zoo grounds, SEES POTENTIAL IN WAR MEMORIAL AS A DESTINATION: Give people a reason to come to the park, Little Rock Zoo Director Susan Altrui says, and development on its perimeter will follow. with features akin to the supertrees of Singapore, solarpowered vertical gardens, as a device to pull the park together? their zoos to bring in new dollars. With who likes to point to investment down- in thinking about the park’s future, “and Why not, Altrui asked, alter Jones- 60 percent of the visitors to the zoo town in thinking about midtown’s future. quantitatively determine the best use of boro Drive over I-630 into a two-lane coming from outside Little Rock but “The city’s been able to find money for the limited space that we have, we may planted with trees and including a bike in Pulaski County, why shouldn’t the the thing it values,” Sabin said. “When find that golf is not the best use of that lane? The Polk Stanley Wilcox architec- county help it out? It’s the only zoo in we have some leadership that thinks cre- space in that location.” tural firm drew up such a plan in 2015; Arkansas — where is the state support? atively and holistically and inclusively, Tell that to the golfers. War MemoJonesboro would not have to be widA Sanborn insurance map of the zoo we can look for the resources in many rial Golf Course’s fans may be few ened for it to be implemented. Why not, from 1939 shows the reptile and bird different places.” compared to zoo visitors, but they are Altrui asked, “literally and metaphori- house. A Sanborn map from today would Sabin has been thinking about the ardent. In 2017, War Memorial also cally build a bridge between the two show the same WPA-built structure, renaissance of War Memorial Park for saw more rounds — 14,909 — than neighborhoods? What about a butterfly still housing reptiles and birds. But the some time. In 2005, when he was an did the city’s most challenging course, house on the bridge? “Create a reason zoo is no longer a place to show animals: Arkansas Times associate editor, he Hindman, which had more than 2,000 for people to come to the park — that It has a conservation mission. Like the wrote that the city’s attention should fewer rounds. Parts of Hindman, howBRIAN CHILSON

W MAY 17, 2018



ever, are in the flood “Development is plain, and can be a bad idea. I would unplayable after big love to see that park rains. More rounds become the Pulaski were played at Little County Central Rock’s third course, Park.” Rebsamen, a linksTo make major style course, than at changes, Webb said, Hindman and War “We shouldn’t be Memorial combined. afraid to talk about On a recent Frianything. Like, we day, a good number need to look at, of players — all men, would we be better but diverse in age off if we did work and race — were buymore closely with ing their greens fees Pulaski County at the club house, with the zoo? … It’s which also serves an important piece as the local AARP of the park. … Would meeting space on its the zoo be better second floor. Japaoff if it were affilinese maples shade ated with the state, a patio and picnic because it is a statetables in front. wide at traction? No golfer, said Should it be the CenNed Dale Jr., who tral Arkansas Zoo? was celebrating Webb would even his 75th birthday consider rethinking with a round with the fitness center. his friend Ernest “While I don’t Franklin, wants to THE PARK PLAYGROUND: Developed in 2010, three years after the city hired a consultant to talk about what a War Memorial Park think that everyof the future could look like. see War Memorial thing in government pulled back to nine translates to a busiholes, much less gotness model,” Webb ten rid of. Rodney Lewis, an employee, with various types of ball fields, a skate developing an indoor sports facility is said, it would make sense to look at laughed when asked what would hap- park, climbing walls, a dog park, a food “my personal soap box.” Such a facility income, expenses and average attenpen if such a suggestion were made. A truck area. It recommended that the would attract “sports-related tourism. I dance. “I was watching something on bunch of players would head down to pool at the Jim Dailey Fitness Center think that War Memorial falls into that TV and saw a commercial for a fitness City Hall, like they did in 2007, he said. be enlarged. conversation for sure.” center, and whatever the price was it Mayor Mark Stodola recalled they City Director Webb, too, said her conwas crazy low. … How do you compete came “armed with 9-irons” to keep what stituents want more soccer fields, to give *** with that?” Fitness center admission is he called the “pure park people” from them an alternative to the fields at Natu$5 for individual day use ($3 for seniors) taking over the fairways. Stodola was ral Steps west of Little Rock and Burns hat her constituents don’t and $40 a month ($30 for seniors). exaggerating as to their clubs, but not Park in North Little Rock. “I’d love to want, Kathy Webb said, is “I have constituents who love the their influence. see a big soccer complex. I think there private development. fitness center, but I hear from them Sabin thinks its time to bring people are a lot of possibilities rather than dustWhen the CS&L study was released in regularly about repairs that are needed,” together again to talk about the park, ing off a plan from eight or 10 years ago.” March, Webb tweeted and posted on her Webb said. and so do City Director Kathy Webb and Scott is really big on the sports idea. Facebook page that she was troubled by Webb also wants more connection another announced mayoral candidate, “I would support the park being turned the consultants’ suggestion on monetiz- north and south: “If we could link the Frank Scott. into a regional sports complex that ing part of War Memorial by turning 40 children’s library and the zoo a bit better would emphasize youth sports — soc- acres over to private development. “An it would open up the whole area more *** cer, baseball, basketball, a regional AAU additional part of the feasibility study to the south of 630.” organization,” Scott said. To do that, that troubled me was the dismissal of She would also like to see lower hile the vision of the park he said, “I would like to see the golf the area south of 630,” she wrote on prices to the zoo for low-income chilexpressed in the mid-aughts course being either completely removed Facebook. dren, noting that the Memphis Zoo was one of a vast green and or going from 18 holes to 9 holes.” The report noted that “there does gives free admission to Tennessee resleafy space with walking and biking By focusing on youth, Scott said, the not appear to be a near-term market for idents on Tuesdays. “I wish we could trails that all could enjoy, rather than city could bring in more kids from south conventional commercial/residential see something like that,” Webb said, more sporting attractions, that seems of the interstate to the park. “It’s a great development” in the neighborhood near though adding as an aside that “Susan to have changed. A “Think Big Little opportunity to focus on being inten- the children’s library, essentially writ- [Altrui] may kill me” for the suggesRock” task force recommended last year tional about community.” ing off the area as a viable community. tion and that there would have to be that the stadium usage be increased The sports complex idea was tossed “I had more response to that tweet an alternate source of funds to offset it. with track meets, intrastate collegiate about several years ago, before the city than anything on any subject at any time “We can disagree about specific games, more vendors and more con- decided to fund the Robinson Center. ever,” Webb said. No one responding pieces” of the park, Webb said, “but certs. It said the park should be turned Little Rock Convention and Visitors to her Facebook post was in support of we do need to bring people together a into a “multi-purpose ‘central park’ ” Bureau Director Gretchen Hall said that development. and have a conversation.”




MAY 17, 2018



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MAY 17, 2018



Arts Entertainment NATHAN WILLIS


ARKANSAS WILD MAN: The Legendary Pacers pay tribute to their longtime frontman, the late Sonny Burgess, at CALS’ Ron Robinson Theater Friday night.

We wanna boogie CALS hosts a tribute to Sonny Burgess. BY STEPHANIE SMITTLE


ot all rock stars die young. In Arkansas Wild Man,” will be screened 2016, a white frosted sheet cake at Central Arkansas Library System’s was decorated with tiny 16th- Ron Robinson Theater at 7 p.m. Friday, note figures and the lyrics to Salt-N- May 18, as part of the Arkansas Sounds Pepa’s “What a Man” in honor of the series. Afterward, Burgess’ longtime 87th birthday of “The International bandmates and companions, The LegGodfather of Rockabilly,” Sonny Bur- endary Pacers, will perform. We talked gess. The man whose stage antics made with Willis ahead of the tribute. Elvis’ hip swivels feel like milquetoast by comparison was, by this time, a warm There’s a fantastic bit in your short but reticent octogenarian — a rocker film “The Arkansas Wild Man” in who never missed a show and who put which W.S. Holland, Johnny Cash’s in time on the treadmill at Advanced longtime drummer, talks about how Physical Therapy in his hometown of wild Sonny Burgess was in the 1950s, Newport to make sure all those biologi- recalling the way he used to do “mosh cal trains ran on time for “We Wanna pit dives” before the term “mosh pit” Boogie.” Filmmaker Nathan Wil- existed. When Sonny died last August, lis spent a good amount of time with The New York Times quoted from Sonny Burgess during Burgess’ final Colin Escott’s book “Roadkill on years — the musician died last year — the Three-Chord Highway: Art and and the resulting documentary, “The Trash in American Popular Music,”


MAY 17, 2018


saying Sonny was “punk before punk, thrash before thrash.” How did this sort of stuff escape the headlines while Elvis’ moves were the stuff of scandal? I was in awe anytime someone spoke about how wild Sonny used to get in his shows. It’s really fun for me to imagine Sonny jumping into the crowd with his guitar, since I only first met him when he was in his 80s and slowing down. I wish there were footage of some of those early shows, but I was never able to find any, so the images of the true “Arkansas Wild Man” will have to live in the memories of those who saw it — and the imaginations of people like me. There is this sort of surreal (and maybe sad) dimension to seeing the pioneers of that spirit playing in these run-down halls on domestic soil, with makeshift posters taped to the front of the stage, and then getting this revered treatment in the U.K. How did you grapple with that — with ideas about empathy and dignity toward your film subjects — when you were

making this? This is a great question. This was one of the primary motivators of me making this film. When I told most people in Arkansas I was making a documentary about Sonny Burgess, they’d look at me with a confused look. I had never heard of him and most Arkansans I talked to had never heard of him, either. As I learned about the way his European fans revered him, I knew I had to see it for myself, since it is such a contrast to people from his home state. There’s an entire generation of lost stories from the early years of rock ’n’ roll. Many of the musicians from that generation have passed away. Most of the dance halls have been torn down. Many of the film and audio recordings no longer exist. It was why I thought it was important to tell Sonny’s story while I could. While most of Sonny’s American shows in his later years were in smaller dance halls, I think even these smaller shows are what kept him going for as long as he went. For me, as an artist, it was inspiring. If people are still willing to pay me to create my art at the age of 80, I’ll count myself extremely lucky. There’s a little bit of irony in his nickname, which you take as a title here, “Arkansas Wild Man,” because the Sonny we see under your lens is this subdued, modest man — one who shies away from showboating about his impact and his success. In the film, he does mundane things. He yawns. He pumps gas. He exercises. Was it difficult to get him to open up for this film? Sonny was very closed off at first. It took a while to get him to open up to me, but I think once he learned I was interested enough in him to travel to England with him on my own dime, he realized I wasn’t in this for any other reason than to tell his story in a way that hadn’t been told before. There are still so many questions I wish I could have asked him.

ROCK CANDY Check out the Times’ A&E blog

A&E NEWS DANIEL CAMPBELL’S “ANTIQUITIES,” a production of Mortuus Pater Pictures co-written by Campbell and Graham Gordy and shot in Arkansas, will have its world premiere June 7-17 at Hollywood’s “Dances with Films” festival. “Antiquities” executive producer Gary Newton plans to attend the LA premiere, along with Campbell and Gordy. When asked about plans to bring the film to Arkansas, Newton said the filmmakers’ hope to “host a cast, crew, investors, sponsors [and] audience screening with Arkansas Cinema Society.”




LITTLE ROCK NATIVE Ben Nichols and his beloved rock outfit, Lucero, are releasing a new album,“Among the Ghosts,” Aug. 3 on the Thirty Tigers record label. The band will play a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo., that same day. If you don’t catch them Thursday, May 17, at J.J.’s Beer Garden & Brewing Co. in Fayetteville, stream “For the Lonely Ones” and “To My Dearest Wife” on your platform of choice at Nichols calls the album “cinematic … but it’s a movie I haven’t seen.” GET READY TO spot an Arkansan on “Survivor” or to be one yourself: CBS’ hit reality show is holding a casting call for a future season from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at Sam’s Club in Springdale, 1517 Gene George Blvd. THE MURPHY ARTS DISTRICT wraps up the first of two phases in its fouryear plan to reinvent downtown El Dorado with the grand opening of the MAD Playscape on Saturday, May 19, at 9 a.m. The free playscape, at 301 S. Hill Ave. next to the outdoor MAD Amphitheater, is the largest of its kind in the state and will be open seven days a week. A press release said the playground features “two acres of stateof-the-art playground equipment selected for the evolving play styles of different ages. “Children can enjoy slides, ropes, tunnels, ladders, a giant razorback slide and a zip line. Additionally, there will be a large splash pad with water cascading from imitation pine trees and an oil derrick as well as from water jets set in the ground.” Austin Barrow, president of the Murphy Arts District, said, “The goal from the beginning has been to create something that all the families of Greater El Dorado and the surrounding region could enjoy. My own kids can’t wait.”

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7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2:30 p.m. Sun. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.

7:30 p.m. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse. $25.

The New Yorker’s Hilton Als nario, predictably, turns into a frictive dubbed it “Schtick Fly,” and The New symposium on race dynamics, priviYork Times’ Charles Isherwood noted lege and family. Director Candrice that, in Lydia R. Diamond’s script, we Jones has the formidable task of coaxare fed “large spoonfuls of exposition.” ing nuance out of a play like “Stick And yet, Diamond’s “Stick Fly” still Fly” while masterful mindblowers captivates actors and audiences 12 like “Get Out” linger in our collecyears after its premiere. In it, a well- tive memory, but if there’s a commuto-do black family, The LeVays, come nity theater company that can make into our view just as their two sons, Diamond’s play feel vital and raw in Kent and Flip, are bringing their girl- 2018, surely it’s The Weekend Theater, friends home to Martha’s Vineyard whose longtime commitment to plays for the weekend — one of whom is, as of social significance and “educationKent puts it, “melanin-challenged.” ally reducing prejudice, cruelty and Things get complicated, secrets un- indifference” are noted in its credo. SS furl and the “meet the parents” sce-

Until you hear her pick out a mean version of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil,” Mary Flower looks for all the world like she could be your cool hippie aunt — the one who’s a folk musician and lives in Eureka Springs and makes jewelry out of crystals and can fold a fitted sheet like a boss. Flower’s background in folk (she was once part of a Denver collective called “Mother Folkers”) meant she was met with some resistance when she dove headlong into the study of ragtime music

and so-called “Piedmont” fingerstyle blues; there weren’t that many women playing blues guitar at the time, and even fewer trying to play like Scrapper Blackwell. Flower’s since made a career out of teaching workshops, playing her lap steel and her signature Fraulini Angelina guitar at festivals and on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” and she’s here in North Little Rock as part of the Argenta Acoustic Music Series. SS

‘CHAMPIONS’ IN COLORED PENCIL: Linda Palmer’s “Arkansas Champion Post Oak” (left) and “Post Oak Leaf” (right) are on display at CHARTS through July 27.



5 p.m. Center for Humanities and Arts (CHARTS), Pulaski Technical College, 3000 W. Scenic Drive. Free.

In 2007, artist Linda Palmer came across a ated “Champion Trees of Arkansas: An Artist’s list of the largest known examples of each kind of Journey,” a University of Arkansas Press book tree native to Arkansas, compiled online by Ar- now in its second printing. A six-year tour of her kansas foresters. Since then, she’s drawn, photo- large-scale color pencil drawings of those trees graphed and studied hundreds of them and cre- comes to a conclusion with an exhibition in the


MAY 17, 2018


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Windgate Gallery of Pulaski Technical College’s Center for Humanities and Arts. Friday’s opening reception will be ushered in by a screening of AETN’s “Champion Trees” documentary at 5 p.m. in the CHARTS Theater. Palmer will give a talk on her work at 6:30 p.m., and the reception and book signing will follow, with music by saxophonist Dr. Barry McVinney and pianist Tom Cox. The exhibition runs through July 27. SS



‘BOOMIVERSE’: Big Boi lands at the Rev Room Friday night.


BIG BOI 9 p.m. Rev Room. $25.

Big Boi — the man who helped cement Atlanta’s reputation as a rap empire, who plays that same city’s mayor in a forthcoming remake of “SuperFly” and who’s collaborated with everyone from Phantogram to Danger Mouse and still manages to get pigeonholed as the earthy counterpart to Andre 3000’s vision quest-y vibes — is coming to Little Rock. It’s not too late for some prerequisite listening, but forgo the “Speakerboxxx” tracks, sweet as they are, especially if you’ve yet to sink into Big Boi’s post-Outkast solo career. Check out his latest, “Boomiverse,” and 2010’s breakout “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty,” a lusty, amped collection of tracks that holds up well despite its references to reality TV and an emergent iTunes being squarely footed in the mid-aughts. SS

Ward Anderson goes for laughs at The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $8-$12. Brian Nahlen entertains for Dunbar Garden’s “Music in the Garden,” 6 p.m., $5, 1720 S. Chester St.; bring a picnic, a blanket or cooler along. Archeologist Andrew Buchner will give a Brown Bag Lunch Lecture, “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Sherman Mound, 1200-1600 A.D.,” at the Old State House Museum, noon-1 p.m. Downtown Little Rock Partnership hosts an Alley Party in SoMa, with music from the Buh Jones Band, 5 p.m., northwest corner of Main Street and Daisy Bates Drive. The Arkansas Arts Center hosts Arkie Pub Trivia at Stone’s Throw Brewing, 6:30 p.m., free. “Young at Art: A Selection of Caldecott Book Illustrations” is up at Wildwood Park for the Arts, with art by Maurice Sendak and others, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun., free. The Gold Show Drag Show goes up at Maxine’s in Hot Springs, 9 p.m., $5. Chris DeClerk plays for happy hour at Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m., free, or catch Lypstick Hand Grenade, 9 p.m., $5. The Little Rock Trojans baseball team takes on the Arkansas State University Red Wolves, 6 p.m. Thu.Fri., 1 p.m. Sat., UA Little Rock’s Gary Hogan Field.




5-8 p.m., downtown galleries, North Little Rock.

The 400 block of Main Street in Argenta will be an art lover’s heaven as art venues welcome an after-hours crowd to new and continuing shows. Katherine Rutter, whose watery paintings of ambiguous part-human, part-animal creatures has earned her a national reputation as a muralist, has works and a mural on exhibition at the Thea Foundation (401 Main St.). The Latino Art Project has a new show, “In Bloom,” at regular host venue Core Brewery (411 Main). Abstract printmaker Dustyn Bork of Batesville and

photographer/painter Heidi Carlsen- continues its “Southern Abstraction” Rogers of Bella Vista put up a show of exhibition of work by Robyn Horn, new work, “Flowers and Facades,” at Dolores Justus, Sammy Peters and the Argenta Branch of the Main Li- regional talent. Unless you’re headed brary (420 Main St.). Supporters of Ar- to the Main Thing’s production of genta’s art scene must not skip Argen- “Orange Is the New White,” a comta Gallery (413 Main St.), where Larry edy about exactly what you think it’s Pennington’s “About Face” show of about, at the Joint Theater (301 Main photography is on exhibition; profits St., curtain at 8 p.m.), head north to from sales benefit the Argenta Arts Barry Thomas Fine Art & Studio (711 Foundation. (Adjoining gallery Stu- Main St.) and watch the impressionist dioMAIN continues its “Year in Re- do his thing. LNP view” show of creative design.) Greg Thompson Fine Art (429 Main St.)



10 p.m. Four Quarter Bar. $7.

Here’s a seasoned fingerstyle acoustic guitarist whose education includes some pre-Kraftwerk German rock, some time mashing up slide blues and punk rock with a New Wave outfit

called Eric and the Atomics, and about a kajillion road miles. He picks and slaps like he’s his own rhythm section, as if he’s got the drum part in his head with his own guitar melody somewhere in the background. Sommer’s rolling into town after picking his way to first place at the Piedmont Blues So-

ciety’s 2017 guitar challenge and after having a Stratocaster show up in the mail while he was on tour en route to Texas, a making of amends by the same soul who stole a 1969 mint model from Sommer at a party 40 years ago. That should make for a good story, and I bet he’s got a few more. SS

The 34th annual “International Greek Food Festival” kicks off at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun., admission $3 or three canned food items, see for details. Katrice “Butterfly” Newbill performs for a “Birthday Bash and Taurus Party” with Nicky Parrish, Tim Anthony and others, 9 p.m., South on Main. The Dangerous Idiots get loud at a midnight show at Midtown Billiards. Tranquilo, Dirt Wizard and Fred share a heavy bill for the benefit of Trust Tree Songwriting Camps, 9 p.m., The White Water Tavern. Mayday by Midnight performs at Silks Bar & Grill inside Oaklawn Racing & Gaming, 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. The Legendary Pacers, Stephen Neeper & The Wild Hearts, The Great Whiskey Rendezvous and Jason Lee Hale are among the performers at the 38th annual Strawberry Jam, 5 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m. Sat., 241 Prince Cemetery Road, Bald Knob, $20. CosmOcean takes the stage at Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9:30 p.m., $6. Molasses Disaster, New Motto, The She and Pete Mouton share a bill at Maxine’s, 9 p.m., $7. Exit From Dark, Centuri and Celestials play a heavy show at Vino’s, 8 p.m., $7. Brian Nahlen and Nick Devlin duet for happy hour at Cajun’s, 5:30 p.m., free,

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‘MESSTIVAL’ 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Museum of Discovery. $10 adults, $8 children.

CATTYWAMPUS: Shire Post Mint’s licensed “A Game of Thrones” coins and O’Faolain Leather’s handmade bags are part of the mix at Cattywampus Co-op’s “Spring Bizarre” Saturday at Blue Canoe Brewing Warehouse.

Kids will get five hours of Wax casting. Viscosity races. And mess-making, from sculpting with much more. The museum says visiscat to slime time, with no reper- tors should wear clothes and shoes cussions at MOD’s “Messtival” — that can get messy; there will be and they won’t even have to clean cleaning stations set up. In a couple up. The idea is to let kids learn a bit of weeks, grownups will get to mess of science while having unfettered about, too, with suds from Stone’s fun with tons of activities. Mentos Throw Brewing and tomato stains and Coke geysers. Exploding mel- from Damgoode Pies. That event’s ons. A mud pie kitchen. A giant 6-9 p.m. May 31 and costs $10. LNP foam cannon. Brush-less painting.


KYLE BOSWELL, KATHY BAY 6-9 p.m. Boswell Mourot Fine Art, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Kyle Boswell’s blown glass vessels in luminous color are given handles of heartier stuff from nature, like copper and hardwoods wrapped in fabric and leather: Such handles invite you to pick up what you might otherwise never handle. Like the blown glass, Kathy


Bay’s paints are also translucent, forming abstract lines and other geometric shapes in brilliant hues. Now these identically initialed Central Arkansas artists are exhibiting together at Boswell’s gallery; a reception opens the show, which runs through June 9. LNP

‘SPRING BIZARRE’ 10 a.m. Blue Canoe Brewing Warehouse, 1637 E. 15th St. Free.

Handmade art has an (unde- chance to get acquainted with a served) reputation for being tame. whole bunch of (un-tame) handMaybe it’s because so many of us made art at once: Shauna Henry’s in the South encountered it first creepy fairy figures! O’Faolain at church bake sales, those small- Leather’s blue-lipped handbags! town hotbeds for lackluster knit Jenn Perren’s stout little Devil trivets and potholders? At any Jars! Maggie Ivy’s painting of a rate, the people making bejeweled fish in fishnets! Bang Up Betty’s beetle brooches, crocheted cacti “Smash the Patriarchy” pendants and “Fouke Monster” T-shirts are, (complete with hammer)! Shire evidently, busy enough dreaming Post Mint’s “A Game of Thrones” up oddities that they don’t often coins! Sally Nixon’s tableau viget a chance to congregate under vants! Upcycled thrift store art one roof, and this is the antidote. by Jason Jones! Arkansocks! Plus, Blue Canoe Brewing’s Ware- there’s beer, food truck fare, live house in the Hanger Hill neigh- printing from Electric Ghost and borhood will, this Saturday, be an after-party with the gorgeous home to the first gathering of art- sounds of Jamie Lou & The Hulmakers in Central Arkansas from labaloo, winners of the 2018 Arthe Northwest Arkansas-based kansas Times Musicians ShowCattywampus Co-Op. Here’s your case. SS


MAY 17, 2018


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For 28 seasons, people have “Laidback League.” Bring sunscreen, been congregating in the name of water and a cooler, buy Stone’s friendly competition and Sabbath Throw brews and grub from the daydrinking as part of the Little food trucks onsite for these final Rock Kickball Association, orga- rounds of LRKA’s 29th season, and nizing themselves under 80 or so consider whether your vision of teams with names like “Suck My 2019 needs the sort of psychologiKick” and “Taj Mah’Balls” to — as cal redemption only kickball can ofthe LRKA’s CEO and founder’s fer: “The first and foremost rule of statement puts it — “kick da funk the game is to have fun. Remember out of a child’s 8.5 inch red play- we are all just a bunch of grownground ball!!!” These are the play- ups playing a kid’s game and are offs for that massive tournament, probably over compensating for the and they happen across four tiers of fact that all of us at one time or anplay varying greatly in the serious- other were picked last as kids and it ness toward the endeavor: Novice, sucked.” SS Intermediate, Competitive and the

IN BRIEF, CONT. and after dinner, catch Ghost Town Blues Band, 9 p.m., $5. Sad Daddy brings wit and mountain harmonies to Kings Live Music in Conway, 8:30 p.m., $5. Seth Freeman takes the stage at West End Smokehouse, 10 p.m., $7.


DOWN A RIVER OF TIME: ASO oboist Lorraine Duso Kitts takes the lead on pieces by Eric Ewazen and Alessandro Marcello.



7 p.m. Highland Valley United Methodist Church. $15 suggested donation (or $25 per couple).

In late March, oboist Lorraine Duso Kitts led a performance of Eric Ewazen’s “Down a River of Time” at the Clinton Presidential Center, evoking spring in all its exploratory green tendrils. It’s a three-movement work by a living American composer that Kitts and colleagues from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the faculty at the University of Central Arkansas will reprise in Granada, Spain, this August as part of the 47th annual conference of the International Double Reed Society (raise your hands if you knew there was such a thing!). This concert is in preview (and in support) of that trip. Duso Kitts will be joined at Highland Valley United Methodist by violinists Kiril Laskarov and Algimantas Staskevicius, violist Tatiana Kotcherguina, cellist Stephen Feldman and pianist Laura Hanna Cruse for the Ewazen piece, as well as Alessandra Marcello’s “Adagio for Oboe and Strings,” Marin Marais’ “La Folia” variations for cello, Manuel Ponce’s “Sarabande et Allegro” and Pable Sarasate’s “Andalusian Romance,” a piece whose setting is connected to the autonomous Spanish community this group will visit in August. Come enjoy it before they go, and soak up a little of what ASO’s musicians cook up when they’re not onstage at the Robinson Center Performance Hall. SS

Four Quarter Bar has become a home for shows from expansive, jazzinformed projects like this weekend’s set from guitarist Chris Combs’ newest, Combsy, 10 p.m., $7. DeFrance takes its polished Southern rock set to Kings Live Music, 8:30 p.m., $5. Commander Keen, Adam Faucett and William Blackart share a songwriters’ bill at Maxine’s, 9 p.m., $7. Murphy Arts District’s Griffin Music Hall in El Dorado reconfigures, ringstyle, for Imperial Wrestling Revolution’s “World Class Revolution” faceoffs, 7 p.m., $10-$60. Bill “Bluesboy Jag” plays a solo set at Cregeen’s Irish Pub, 8 p.m. Hell Camino joins Eight Eyes and Hemp Noose for a heavy bill at Vino’s, 8 p.m., $7. The Jacob Wolf House Historic Site in Norfork (Baxter County) hosts its annual “Pioneer Days,” 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Pianist John Willis reprises “No Surprises: Radiohead Tribute Show” at the Rev Room, 9:30 p.m., $10. Songwriter Matt Stell performs at Stickyz, 8:30 p.m., $10. Sad Daddy brings its jug band sensibility to White Water, 9 p.m. Trey Johnson plays an early set at Cajun’s, 5;30 p.m., free, and later, Jet 420 takes the stage, 9 p.m., $5. Mother Hubbard & The Regulators perform at West End Smokehouse, 10 p.m., $7.


Chelsea Clinton gives a talk, “She Persisted Around the World,” at the Wally Allen Ballroom in the Statehouse Convention Center, 1:30 p.m., free, register by emailing or by calling 683-5239. The Little Rock Wind Symphony incorporates classical guitar and accordion on works by Angel Villodo, Gerardo Matos Rodríguez and others for “Sunday Samba,” 3 p.m., Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, $12-$15. Stephan James & The Music Factory perform at the Rev Room, 8 p.m., $10.


The Trinity River Bluegrass Band plays at downtown Paragould’s Collins Theatre, 7 p.m., $5 suggested donation.


Riverdale 10 Cinema hosts a screening of “Fight Club,” 7 p.m., $9. Concert organist Weston Jennings will play at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 7 p.m.

Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies MAY 17, 2018










From beef or turkey to portabella or veggie—or even with a gluten-free bun!—we really know how to ROCK burger week in central Arkansas. This event gives readers a chance to taste all of the best burgers that the Rock has to offer. THE BEST PART? Optional burger pricing: $10 or under (sides are an additional cost). WHAT ELSE DO READERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BURGER WEEK ROCK(S)? ¶ Restaurants WILL be busy, so: get there early, have a backup plan and maybe try again the next day. ¶ There will be a wait, since we’ve been talking about delicious burgers since May. ¶ You will tip as though the burger is regular price. This should go without saying, but step up to the plate with a 20% tip, and say “Thank you” for the sweet deal. ¶ Buy a beverage and maybe some other delectable food to enjoy with your burger. So, when appropriate, have a beer or cocktail. ¶ Stay updated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and (of course)


Doe’s Eat Place • Stickyz Rock-n-Roll Chicken Shack • Big Orange Grumpy’s Too Neighborhood Bar & Grill • Black Angus Lazy Pete’s • Ciao Baci • EJ’s Eats and Drinks AND MORE TO COME! Four page section in the JUNE 7 ISSUE. The event is limited to 30 participating restaurants. Posters and social media promotional materials will be provided.


Let’s show off that delicious burger.

WWW.ARKTIMES.COM • 201 E. MARKHAM, SUITE 200 • (501) 492-3994 28

MAY 17, 2018





MORE RESTAURANTS THAN you can shake a fork at will be at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of the Rock food and beverage showcase Thursday, May 17. The event runs 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the River Market pavilions and features eats and drinks from more than 25 eateries and caterers, from Cache Restaurant to Whole Hog Cafe, who will compete for “Best Taste” and “Best Booth.” Tickets are $30 reserved or $35 at the gate. CATHEAD’S DINER, a “love letter to the South” from chef Donnie Ferneau and baker Kelli Marks, is close to opening, Marks said last week. The restaurant will be located in the Paint Factory building, 515 Shall St., which has been renovated by the Cromwell architectural firm for its new office in the East Village. East Village is the name given the area east of Interstate 30 that has seen new business in recent years, starting with Lost Forty Brewing’s craft beer brewery and restaurant at 501 Byrd St. Now, Shall and East Sixth Street are pulling in development like a magnet, with The Rail Yard, The Bike Shop, the 12 Star Flats in the Paint Factory and a new eSTEM charter school campus. Marks said Cathead’s menu won’t be finalized until Ferneau is able to “get in the kitchen and fire everything up.” Whatever the two concoct, it will be Southern-style comfort food. Cathead’s will serve breakfast and lunch weekdays and brunch on weekends. Weekend dinners likely will be specialty affairs, Marks said. Saturday brunch will be traditional, with a menu; Sunday’s will be served allyou-can-eat, cafeteria-style, Marks said, with servers coming to tables to “dish out extra food.” Cathead’s will serve alcohol, but Marks said the restaurant is not pushing itself as a booze hangout. It will also have a small patio with a bar that will accommodate up to 30, which should appeal to its bike-riding clientele, she said. Cathead’s will have a week-long soft opening, followed by events for nonprofits The Heart Hospital and CARTI. SAUCE(D) BAR AND OVEN at 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road has announced it will open Monday, May 21; it now has a phone number: 501-353-1534. Sauce(d) will offer 20 craft beers and 14 wines on tap along with wood-fired pizzas, burgers and meatballs. AMERICAN PIE PIZZA at 9709 Maumelle Blvd. is planning on adding 800 more square feet to the restaurant and adding a full bar, a restaurant spokesman confirmed last week. The expansion will be into an area formerly occupied by a salon. No opening date has been set. 30

MAY 17, 2018


BREAD KNOTS: Cheryl Roorda and Zac Smith bake all of SQZBX’s bread and pizza dough in house.

SQZBX sings With pie, tunes and beer.


wo polka musicians walk into a bar. Or, rather, they open their own microbrewery, alongside an accordion-themed pizzeria. Next to the solar-powered radio station they co-founded. Then, they win a historic preservation award for the effort. That’s the SQZBX (short for “squeezebox”) story in a nutshell. The “Brewery & Pizza Joint” in downtown Hot Springs, just off Central Avenue, is adjoined to KUHS-FM, 102.5, the only solar-powered radio station in Arkansas. Spouses Cheryl Roorda and Zac Smith are at the helm. They’re the accordion-helicon duo behind the Itinerant Locals, which trotted out its polka-fied versions of “Star Wars” marches and Talking Heads hits on stages and street corners across the U.S. until pizza took priority. We walked past the windowfront

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where a DJ was spinning The B-52s’ “52 Girls” on KUHS, the windowfront where SQZBX’s cooks were spinning dough, and into the sleek, boxy pizzeria. SQZBX’s ceilings are high and covered in vintage tin tiles, and everything shines: the copper tabletops, the mini-marquee lightboxes in each booth, the SQZBX-themed glassware in the display shelf up front and the accordion skeletons that accent the dining room. Retired accordions have even been made into lighting fixtures. A piano lid divides a booth from the beverage service area and the innards of a grand piano soundboard hang on the wall, their curvatures lit in blue — both paying homage to the spot’s origins as Davis Piano Repair. Smith operates the gleaming, squeaky-clean brew equipment Wonkastyle from within a corner encased in

glass, behind a door that reads: “Brewery,” then, below, in script: “Zac Only.” Smith’s a purist, and it shows; we tried the Mystic Pilsner and the Cold Killer Ale, both of which were easy-drinking ambassadors for the unadulterated, tank-to-tap style Smith employs. Cooler days and different palates might call for quirky infusions or smoky stouts, but the beer list at SQZBX is a perfect fit for the Arkansas summer that lies ahead, and the clean, simple brew style means it’s unobtrusive enough to stay out of the food’s way, too. Beers are served in custom glassware (cartoonishly slim, tall beer mugs) by the 1/4 liter ($4), 1/2 liter ($7), pitcher ($15), growler ($16, adding another possible stop to your list of Sunday beer purveyors in Hot Springs) or by the flight (four brews for $6). There was also a New Belgium “Glutiny” pale ale for the gluten-averse/ allergic. Wine drinkers had a choice of a pinot gris, a pinot noir, a rose and a red blend from North By Northwest or Arkansas’s own Wiederkehr White Muscadine wine ($4 by the glass). We opted for the Loaded Bread


Check out the Times’ food blog, Eat Arkansas

SQZBX Brewery & Pizza Joint 236 Ouachita Ave. Hot Springs 609-0609 Quick bite

Don’t miss two decadent highlights of the SQZBX menu: the seriously rich New York Cheesecake, topped with a dollop of fruit and framed by a rich, buttery crust ($6), and the oddball but crave-worthy Pepperoni Chips ($8), jumbo slices of pepperoni baked until crisp, served alongside a cup of chunky marinara. Think pepperoni slices masquerading as Pringles.


11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.


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Knots ($10), cigar-like lengths of dough baked with roasted garlic and parmesan until golden brown and topped with red onion, sausage, diced pepperoni and fresh basil. Along with the knots, we had a Greek salad ($6/$10), crisp mixed greens with feta, olives, herbs and a house-made Greek vinaigrette fiercely acidic enough to counter all those briny eleSQZ IN: To the pizzeria and brewery on Ouachita ments. The salads at SQZBX Avenue. nearly steal the show from the main event; on a past trip, we’d maker’s care of craft — along with a little made dinner out of the large Garden Neapolitan char — and topping it with Salad ($6/$10) with the house-made little else besides a pile of vegetables balsamic vinaigrette and vowed to order served it well. Diners can add vegan it every time we walked in the door. Nev- cheese to the pie for a surcharge, but it’s ertheless, we shared a small pie, the not really necessary. The kalamata olives Vegan Dream ($16 for a 13-inch pie/$24 atop the “Vegan Dream” account for the for an 18-inch). saltiness typically afforded by mounds The Vegan Dream is a gem. Plant- of mozzarella, and the whole cloves of based restaurant options in Hot Springs roasted garlic nestled underneath the are pretty few and far between, and it’s feathery arugula and basil are creamy even harder to find places that serve enough to ditch the Daiya (or whatever vegan dishes thoughtfully. vegan cheese SQZBX uses), anyway. There’s a remarkable thing that hapIf, however, pizza without meat or pens to pizza crust when it’s made by the cheese seems to you like church withhands of Real Live People without using out music, there’s plenty of mozz to a bunch of added junk or preservatives be had: the Pepperoni Pie ($16/$24), and allowed to fully ferment. SQZBX the supreme-ish Wide Load ($19/$27) ferments its dough at a cool temperature or the purist’s pick: the cheese pizza for a long time before thrusting into a ($14/$19) with whole milk mozzarella ridiculously hot oven. The dough crisps and “Nona Smith’s marinara.” and forms irregular bubbles on its surOur impressions of SQZBX? It’s a face, pinpointing the spots where air fiercely devoted effort from two polkawas trapped in the whole yeasty experi- peddling polymaths and new evidence ment and calling attention to just how for the depth of Hot Springs’ quirky cul“alive” the process is. SQZBX’s crust ture — and for the Spa City’s status as bears all those markers of the dough- a mecca for good beer and pizza pie.

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Includes Whiskey Samples and Pork Dishes


FRIDAY, JUNE 15 | 6-9PM | LITTLE ROCK | THE PAVILIONS AT HEIFER VILLAGE AND URBAN FARM Enjoy Whiskey samples from various agings of Knob Creek along with Basil Hayden and Jim Beam Black! Plus we will have creative and delicious pork dishes prepared by a dozen local chefs for you to taste.




HUSHED UP: Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) are hiding from man-eating bugs in “A Quiet Place.”

Death by decibel

See ‘A Quiet Place’ in the theater while you can. BY SAM EIFLING


he title of “A Quiet Place” only gets more wry as you get further into one of the tensest, tautest horror debuts in recent memory. The Abbott family — led by Emily Blunt as Evelyn, and John Krasinski, who also writes and directs, as Lee — are among the only survivors of an apparent monster invasion. They appear to live on a farm on a small town maybe in upstate New York or something; not

that it matters much, because everyone everywhere seems to have been croaked by these massive, spindly legged bugs who can’t see or smell but who can hear a mouse burp from the next county over. A bit of land in the country, some kiddos, a quiet place to grow old, that’s the dream, man. Except in the theater you’ll be so keyed up, every squeak of a chair, every gurgle from your stomach, every sniffle from the

audience comes across as a possible death sentence. How did this family last even a few months into this massacre? They’ve got a bit of an advantage in their oldest kid, Regan, played by Millicent Simmonds who, like her character, is deaf. Already, they speak sign language and they’ve clearly adapted: They walk only on paths of sand they’ve laid down; they never wear shoes; bare patches on their floors point to wear made by a thousand steps on creak-free points; they eat their dinners off of large, soft leaves rather than brittle, droppable plates. When Regan plays Monopoly with her little brother, Marcus (Noah Jupe), you can see they’ve swapped out the hard-tacking metal pieces for little felt shapes, and they roll the dice on a blanket. The omnipresent silence for them also


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covers a deep reserve of loss and fear. They have a baby on the way, a time bomb that we see Evelyn prepare for by arranging an oxygen tank beside a thick wooden bassinet outfitted with a heavy, screamproof lid. For little details like these, Krasinski the writer/director is actually a better fit for this project than Krasinski the actor. Not that he’s bad (it’s frankly no shame to be upstaged by Emily frickin’ Blunt, who is as fierce as ever and is also married to Krasinski), but even behind a bushy, the-world-is-doomed beard he still has the rounded nose and big, bright eyes of Jim from “The Office” — he can’t seem quite to wear the stress that would accompany endless months of certain death waiting for even one tiny misstep. The world he creates here, though, is a fun, dark ride that sets a specific set of gears in motion and then lets them spin honestly. “A Quiet Place” is also (this is important, in the horror genre) a movie made without cruelty for its characters. Family lies at the heart of the film, and

choosing one family to hold up our hope for humanity lets us fall for them fully. No “Independence Day” here; there is no resistance, or greater plan to rescue the planet. There’s not a disposable person here, nor is there a disposable line. There’s just the hope that you can birth and raise your children without seeing them pulled apart like string cheese in front of your eyes. One of the film’s producers told The Hollywood Reporter that its wispy 67-page script included maps and diagrams and perhaps four mere pages of dialogue. In the past 30 years of seeing newrelease movies, I can recall only two with less audible talking: “The Artist,” which in 2011 won the Oscar as a throwback to a silent film; and “All Is Lost,” Robert Redford’s 2013 one-man show about a solo sailor who’s lost at sea. It’s a show-don’t-tell world in “A Quiet Place,” to a degree uncommon for horror or for movies at large, and one without gimmicks or shortcuts. See it in the theater while you can; the bigger and more exposed you are in a silent room, the more you’ll enjoy it.



• Daily Competitions begin at 10:00 a.m. • Free Airplane rides for kids following competitions (weather permitting) • Grider Field Restaurant open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday & Sunday PINE BLUFF REGIONAL AIRPORT, GRIDER FIELD 709 HANGAR ROAD, PINE BLUFF

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May 18-20 Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre T I C K E T S


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501-227-5320 •

© Copyright Lyuba Bogan 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Rebecca Miller Stalcup, artistic director, p r e s e n t s

Get tickets at MAY 17, 2018


Enjoy an Over the Top Hollywood Inspired Night as the Arkansas Times Honors the Winners and Finalists Of the Best of Arkansas Readers Poll.


MAY 17, 2018


LOCAL RECREATION Place to Swim Cheap Date Park Resort Golf course Weekend Getaway Gym/Place to Work Out Hiking trail Place to mountain bike Place to canoe/kayak/tube Marina LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT Rock band or artist Country band or artist Hip-hop artist or group Jazz band or artist DJ Live music venue Dance club Karaoke Trivia Live music festival Local actor/actress Local theater Artist Author Poet Photographer Comedian Filmmaker Neighborhood festival Late-night spot Gay bar Sports bar Bowling alley Movie theater Museum Performing arts group Place to gamble LOCAL FOOD AND DRINK Food festival French fries Onion rings Cheese Dip Ribs Wine list Arkansas-brewed beer Liquor store Sushi Salad Business lunch Brunch Happy hour Cocktail Baked goods

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PAINTING AND SERVICE COMPANY For all your interior - exterior painting needs RESEARCH SYSTEM ANALYST SENIOR for UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FOR MEDICAL SCIENCES to work at our Little Rock, AR HQ. Perform workflow + sys analysis + design related to app dev or sys enhancements. Determine business reqs through communication w/ customers, investigate existing sys, assess sys capabilities, + ID opportunities for improvement. Document data + process flows, dev sys design alts + maintain compliance of sys standards during design + coding processes. Understand clinical research info + use in multidiscip environ. Dev app sys + impl approaches following structural sys analysis, design, + dev methodologies. Doc sys reqs + design, define + doc user workflow + assist in procedure dev + coord w/ other divs w/in IT, clinical + research depts. Train customers + team members. Provide customer support during impl. Participate in app testing + QA processes. Provide prod + customer support for research sys. Contribute to tech direction. Produce complex deliverables. Perform regular functions w/ min guidance. Assist others dev complex delivs. Serve as app dev or proj lead role. Provide input to project estimates, work breakdown structure tasks, + dependencies. Monitor + control project plans + work deliverables, lead team or act as consultant to team members + review specifics + designs. Participate in program + test walk-through to provide + obtain suggestions regarding proj phases. Review + eval needs for + impact of new apps + methods of research practices. Analyze, review, + impl sys changes. Escalate issues to Sr. staff. Other duties as assigned + on-call rotation. Telecommuting may be permitted on a limited basis. May undergo background checks incl ref and MV checks. REQUIRES: Must have Master’s in Comp Sci, Math, Engineering, or rel field and 3 yrs rel IT exp or Bach in Comp Sci, Math, Engineering or rel field and 5 yrs rel IT exp. ALSO REQ SKILLS (2 YRS EXP) IN ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: Tomcat, JBoss, C, C ++, C#, PHP, Java, J2EE, Ruby on Rails, SOAP/REST Web Services, HL7 v2/v3 standards, Mirth Connect, Grails Groovy, or other web-based programming language; and (1 yr exp) in one of the following: MySQL, Microsoft SQL, Oracle, or PostgreSQL. Apply online at

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Arkansas Times - May 17, 2018  

Putting in a Park - What's a fair way for all to use LR's War Memorial? By Leslie Newell Peacock

Arkansas Times - May 17, 2018  

Putting in a Park - What's a fair way for all to use LR's War Memorial? By Leslie Newell Peacock